Accessibility links

Breaking News

What's Behind the Crackdown in Turkmenistan?

Turkmenistan -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, October 27, 2014.
Turkmenistan -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, October 27, 2014.

Turkmenistan, long ranked as among the world's most closed societies, is waging an unprecedented campaign against the few independent journalists and activists seeking to provide an alternative to the government's monopoly on information. Correspondents for RFE/RL and other outlets have been subject to interrogations, orchestrated public shaming, disappearance, and imprisonment.

This edition of RFE/RLive will look at what is driving this attack, virulent even by Turkmenistan's traditional standards. Indeed, it takes place against a backdrop of domestic economic decline and, as reflected in last week's capture by the Taliban of Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province, rising insurgency and insecurity along Turkmenistan's long and porous southern border.

Friday, October 9, 2015
Washington, D.C.--10:00 a.m. / Prague--4:00 p.m. / Ashgabat 7:00 p.m.

Join us live on YouTube, and join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #RFERLive

Watch the discussion here:

Johann Bihr is the Head of Eastern Europe & Central Asia at Reporters Without Borders. He graduated from Paris Sorbonne University in 2007 with a degree in International Relations and has worked for humanitarian NGOs in Central Asia.

Dr. Luca Anceschi is Director of Central Asian Studies at the University of Glasgow, also author of Turkmenistan's Foreign Policy: Positive Neutrality and the consolidation of the Turkmen regime

Ruslan Myatiev is a journalist from Turkmenistan currently living in Europe. He heads the Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) civic media initiative dedicated to bringing news from Turkmenistan to the outside world. Besides covering daily events that happen inside the country, Ruslan is actively involved in human rights defense.

Muhammad Tahir is Director of RFE/RL's Turkmenistan Service. He joined RFE in 2002 as an editor and broadcaster for the Turkmen Service in Prague. He has also worked as a regional correspondent for IHA Turkish Television News Agency in Islamabad and Kabul, from 1999-2002.

Merkhat Sharipzhan is a Senior News Editor with RFE/RL covering Central Asia. Previously, he was the Director of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service.